Arnold Kling  

One-Party State watch

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Dan Balz summarizes the grim demographic statistics. He quotes Robert Lang of Virginia Tech.


"There's just not enough rural folks and small-city people left in America."

For Republicans, the most hopeful statistic is this:

Democrats lost white college graduates by 20 percentage points in 1988 but by four points last November.

Potentially, that is reversible. You probably have to take it as given that among less educated voters, Democrats will sweep urban minorities and Republicans will sweep rural and small-town whites.

So for Republicans to win, they have to dominate among college-educated voters. That tells me that Sarah Palin is not the right person to head the ticket.

Of course, I think that the one-party state will be based on more than mere demographics. I think it will be a case of Democrats systematically rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies, using the increased control over the economy to do so.

I predict that while the Democrats hold power, the share of college-educated people who work for the government will rise dramatically, while the share working in the private sector will fall. That is why so much of the stimulus is focused on giving money to state governments, even though unemployment already is low among government workers, The goal of the "stimulus" is to enlarge the constituency that is most likely to vote Democratic.

The dramatic increase in state control over the economy was initiated by George Bush and Henry Paulson. Ultimately, we can thank them for the one-party state.


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CATEGORIES: Political Economy



COMMENTS (21 to date)
SydB writes:

"Ultimately, we can thank them [Bush and Paulson] for the one-party state."

No way. I find your analysis too simplistic. You can thank the GOP, the National Review Online, Fox News, the mindless supporters of the Iraq war, the "drown the government" group, CATO, and many others. Even libertarians. Why? Because those who have no interest in governing will eventually hand responsibility over to someone who is interested in doing so. As it should be.

Arnold Kling writes:

SydB, if I may paraphrase what you are saying, those who have no interest in dominating others must hand over responsibility to someone who is interested in doing so.

You are saying that there is no such thing as personal liberty. It's either rule or be ruled.

You may be right. I hope not.

David R. Henderson writes:

To SydB,
What Arnold said. Plus, it seems to me that "the mindless supporters of the Iraq war" did have a desire to govern (read: dominate) that poor country. The Republicans I've talked to since the November election and since the November 2006 election are willfully refusing to admit the role that their support for that war played. So, ironically, if the Republicans had forsworn their desire to govern Iraq, the Republicans would probably control Congress now.
David

John Samples writes:

Anyone who doubts the effects of the Iraq war on the Bush presidency and the control of Congress by the GOP should read:

"The Effects of the George W. Bush Presidency on Partisan Attitudes" by Gary C. Jacobson, Presidential Studies Quarterly, April 2009, p 170ff.

ABSTRACT
Evidence from the eight years of the George W. Bush administration confirms that the public standing of the president's party rises and falls in concert with popular evaluations of his job performance. Reactions to the president affect the favorability ratings of his party, party identification measured individually and at the aggregate level—particularly among younger voters—as well as the party's electoral performance. Bush's second term, which provoked the longest period of low and downward-trending approval ratings on record, thus inflicted considerable damage on the Republican Party's image, popular support, and electoral fortunes.

Mattyoung writes:

Republicans need to get back to an old fashioned Hoover efficiency program for the Nation.

Greg Ransom writes:

Exactly:

"The dramatic increase in state control over the economy was initiated by George Bush and Henry Paulson. Ultimately, we can thank them for the one-party state."

The GOP won't get out of it's hole until party leaders begin to speak honestly about George Bush and what the GOP did to the country in the 2000s.

Dirtyrottenvarmint writes:

The United States has been a "one-party-state" for at least the past 100 years. At several points in the nation's history the opposing parties differed vehemently over whether to establish a national bank. Now they barely argue over whose cronies get to run it. What's the difference? As a real historical comparison, consider that in ancient Athens, which correctly or not is widely credited with "inventing" democracy, there were prominent and popular political movements favoring a switch to oligarchy. When have "opposing" parties in the United States ever offered voters this degree of difference?

The U.S. had what I would characterize as at least something approaching real dialectical republic, for a short while. There soon followed a civil war. Perhaps we are afraid that encouraging real political argument would lead to yet another bloody attempt at revolution. Perhaps we're right.

SydB writes:

Mr Kling: What you express is a possibility: those who don't impose will be imposed upon. But my read of GOP failures is different: Those who don't understand and manage risks are more likely to fail. Democrats want to create a web of policies--much arguably unnecessary and inefficient--to manage risks. The GOP prefers to ignore them.

I could be wrong, but I believe the GOP's obsession with government-is-evil created an opening for their own managerial incompetence and an atmosphere of politics-over-policy.

Small effective government is good. No doubt. But drowning government might not work. It's the wrong metaphor, but it's the one that drives the mindset of the GOP, making intelligent discussion of what is a good sized government difficult.

Hence I blame more than Bush and Paulson.

Scott Gustafson writes:

"So for Republicans to win, they have to dominate among college-educated voters. That tells me that Sarah Palin is not the right person to head the ticket."

Why do you think that Palin can't win the college-educated vote? Is there data to support that view?

SydB writes:

"Why do you think that Palin can't win the college-educated vote? Is there data to support that view?"

Only anecdotal, but I'm familiar with several examples of republicans who bailed on McCain upon his selection of Sarah Palin--and even ended up donating to the Obama campaign. Palin is exactly my point in the comments above--no offense intended, but she seems rather clueless about the world at large, speaking largely in talking points. Why the GOP thinks that an unworldly person such as this can represent the future of the party is beyond me.

shecky writes:

Why do you think that Palin can't win the college-educated vote? Is there data to support that view?

Is there data to support she had strong support among college educated the last time around?

I predict that while the Democrats hold power, the share of college-educated people who work for the government will rise dramatically, while the share working in the private sector will fall.

What are the numbers like now?

Gary Rogers writes:

I think you are premature in your prediction based on the unsustainable continuation of a large and growing government. Since our borrowing cannot continue, the trend will not continue. The question is whether we shrink government and let people fend for themselves or continue our slide toward the banana republic style of third world government we are creating. We will not continue on toward a one party system.

As for Sarah Palin; she is college educated, appears to have common sense, has risen from obscurity to become governer of Alaska and does not carry the baggage of mis-education that seems to plague Ivy League graduates. It seems that the objections to her qualifications are either elitist statements like "of course college educated votors will not find her acceptable" or personal attacks on her and her family. If you have a problem with her qualifications I would be interested in what it is, but don't stoop to nasty politics.

As for Henry Paulson, what we are going through right now should rightly be termed the "Paulson Panic." I think he pulled off one of the biggest political and economic blunders in history and should have his name attached to it. George Bush and Henry Paulson were republicans but not conservatives.

Tom writes:

Dan Balz's summary is a bit misleading.

Republicans have won elections with college grad support:
2004 College graduate R 52% D 46%
2000 College graduate R 52 D 46
1996 College graduate R 46 D 44

His summary looks as if they had been slowly eroding Democratic support.

SWH writes:

Mr. Kling- As a fan of your thinking and writing, I hope I misinterpret your comment:

"You are saying that there is no such thing as personal liberty. It's either rule or be ruled.You may be right. I hope not."

Of course it is rule or be ruled. The extent of, and nature of, government's involvement in our lives (be ruled) depends on our active participation in the political process. Today, the average US citizen makes no effort to understand government or the issues of the day and is unlikely to vote. They opt to not "rule" and therefore will be ruled. Unfortunately, they then unreasonably complain of loss of personal liberties.

SydB writes:

"As for Sarah Palin; she is college educated, appears to have common sense, has risen from obscurity to become governer of Alaska and does not carry the baggage of mis-education that seems to plague Ivy League graduates."

Caplan wrote here (I think) a while back (paraphrasing): Palin's parents are educators. Palin barely graduated from college--six colleges in five years, no records to indicate how she did. Her children are barely high school graduates. This is a downward path.

This is not meant as a slam against her. She's obviously capable politically speaking. But the anti-elitism strain in the GOP, the idea that a bus driver can fly a 747, simply doesn't help them with college educated voters.

Colin K writes:

@Gary Rogers: Unfortunately "nasty politics" is sometimes the reality that exists on the ground.

Hemingway used to talk about his process of editing his first drafts as going through and "killing your children." The only relevant question today is whether Sarah Palin's appeal is growing or likely to grow in the next 2 years.

By the end of the 2008 campaign a lot of people were convinced she was an airheaded knuckle-dragging bible-banger with a trailer-trash family. From what little I've seen she hasn't made much of any dent in that impression since last November. She may have been the victim of an awful smear campaign but the mud stuck and she hasn't gotten it off. W wasn't exactly loved by the media either but he managed to slough off the DWI arrest, cocaine rumors, etc.

SydB writes:

Colin K: "W wasn't exactly loved by the media either but he managed to slough off the DWI arrest, cocaine rumors, etc. "

I've often pondered this. My hypothesis: W was a political animal, growing up in a political family. I'd think he absorbed this and that from osmosis. Palin never had such an environment.

Scott Gustafson writes:

"Palin's parents are educators. Palin barely graduated from college--six colleges in five years, no records to indicate how she did. Her children are barely high school graduates. This is a downward path."

Palin's parents were educators. Palin was a mayor and is now the Governor. How is that a downward path?

Are you looking at credentials or accomplishments?

sunrise089 writes:

Scott Gustafson: "Palin's parents were educators. Palin was a mayor and is now the Governor. How is that a downward path?

Are you looking at credentials or accomplishments?"

Excellent point about credentials versus accomplishments, however we need to qualify what types of accomplishments are commendable.

Is it an upward path if Bob's grandparents were small shopkeepers, his father was a successful local strongman, and he himself is dictator over a country? If not, is it really that impressive that Palin's parents made a living providing a service to customers while Palin herself uses the powers of the state to hand out favors?

SydB writes:

Scott G wrote: "Are you looking at credentials or accomplishments?"

Always a good question. First, I'm paraphrasing what Caplan said. Second, I think credentials are a signal for competence. Not THE signal. But a signal. Justice Scalia says as such when he indicates he only looks for clerks from Ivy's. Because the Ivy's are a filter for the best and the brightest.

I believe education is important. It's one means of understanding the world. Her parents were educators, she barely graduated from college, and her kids are apparently unable to graduate from high school (and apparently are heavily involved with sex and drugs). I think that tells us something.

The point is not to berate Sarah Palin. My point: this aspect of her turned off a lot of republicans.

Jacob Oost writes:

If somebody is unemployed, are they an unemployed government worker or an unemployed private sector worker? I'm asking in response to this:

"That is why so much of the stimulus is focused on giving money to state governments, even though unemployment already is low among government workers,"

I assume you mean that layoffs of government employees are lower than private sector layoffs?

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